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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Aug 3, 2011 7:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Live vs the "tape" of a show .

In the 80's fest. below in an exchange between , I believe , boatman and LIA, we get into, the bias of having seen the band in that era , might have on ones view of the music . Something that occurred to me, was I remember being in those arenas,and despite the band's pursuit of good sound, struggling to hear what was happening musically . I loved seeing the band, I ALWAYS had fun at a Grateful Dead show , but I remember thinking "man this is great, i can't wait to get a tape of this to hear actually what is going on ".

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Poster: Edsel Date: Aug 3, 2011 9:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Live vs the 'tape' of a show .

Never really had a problem with sound at a Dead show, usually nice and clean, and plenty loud enough. Other bands are a different story tho, loud just to be loud, screw the distortion.

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Aug 4, 2011 1:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Live vs the 'tape' of a show .

Very lucky indeed not have been to a bad sounding Dead show. Before the WOS and Pink Floyds' System it was hit or miss w/ sound systems.Being at the sound test at the Cow Palace I was of course impressed w/ the size of the system but in reality that show was a true test and things were out of phase and some instruments were louder than others,today the mix is all cleaned up so if you weren't there you never know the difference.I do think Bill Grahams' house sound was for the most part ok. I do recall many a show not Dead specific here but talking rock the systems varied from muddy to shrill and tinny.I will absolutely agree that all purpose stadiums are for multiple sporting events and not for concerts.now a days talking to sound guys they can't believe a rock band would shelp so much gear around.All you see today are the suspended arrays that everyone uses.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Live vs the 'tape' of a show .

I don't give a shit how good your sound system is; all-purpose arenas and stadiums blow when it comes to listening to music. Some were certainly better than others- I remember the old Cap Center in Landover being particularly atrocious. The first 3-4 songs always sounded like the band was playing on the bottom of a swimming pool. I wish I had been old enough to catch the boys at more intimate venues like Richmond Mosque or the Stanley Theater, but I missed that boat by a few years.

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Live vs the 'tape' of a show .

"I don't give a shit how good your sound system is; all-purpose arenas and stadiums blow when it comes to listening to music." As a former sound man 'in an earlier life', I completely concur. The one time this was not the case in my experience, was when they brought the Wall of Sound into the old Chicago Stockyards Exposition Building, aka the International Amphitheater 7/25/74. Of the many shows i saw at that venue, each and every one required a great amount of patience and focus to actually 'hear' what was going on - with the exception of that 7/25/74, which was a pleasant surprise. Too bad it was such a behemoth to set up and so damn expensive to haul around. One can't fault the band for trying, they get an 'A' for effort and ingenuity in my book. Arenas and stadiums are only all-purpose when it comes to various athletic events - music halls, opera hoses and outdoor amphitheaters are constructed and intended for concerts. Fair play to the band for cutting into their profits by supporting the WOS while trying to make the best out of this growing scene of fans. Too bad some miserly music promoters in the 70's and 80's broke the rule and decided that concerts should be looked at as massive marketing and monetary events, rather than as the musical moments where the art and craft of musicians can be best experienced and enjoyed by both artists and audiences. I see a huge difference in the mindset between 'audiences' and 'crowds' - a simple look at each word's root and connotation says it all. I'm always impressed when an act with a large following opts for multiple nights in a smaller room (Warfield, Radio City, Auditorium Theater, Uptown, etc.), rather than a one night stand in a sound cesspool.

When i finally did hear a SBD of 7/25/74, I was quite happy to hear things as I remembered them. I had recorded this show on cassettes - only to have them stolen from my car a couple years later. The cassettes recorded from the audience captured a sound that was the concert along with the din of several thousand people in an enclosed concrete structure - a lot of 'busy air' along with the music played. Due to the limitations of the recording device, microphone and tape, those audience tapes never seemed to be a good representation of the concert sound my ears experienced that night. The WOS was such a formidable structure and audio 'event', that in places like that, the old soundman's adage of "more is less" was the rule - and the outcome. By having that many speakers powered by that many amps allowed for a richer cleaner sound with far less distortion at needed levels, so as to not add more din to the ambient mix. It was a commendable experiment for sure.